INTERVIEW: Duke Dumont
“I like your shoes,” says Duke Dumont – real name Adam Dyment – of my leopard print Vans as he saunters across the backstage area towards his trailer for our last interview at Sydney’s 'Listen Out' festival.
As we sit down, Dyment shows me his most prized possession: his black denim jeans, which he admits he rarely cleans despite being covered in cigarette ash. “In all fairness, I’ll go two weeks without washing them. I just don’t have the time.”
Such is the lifestyle of one of Britain’s most successful DJ-producers. Lily Allen, Bat For Lashes and Santigold have all turned to Dyment for his production flair over the past few years. But success hasn’t always been the case. “I had a day job in an office until I was 22. I hated it so much. It’s the reason I do what I do now and why I appreciate all the things I’ve been given. It hasn’t always been as it is now. It’s been a long time coming.”
Working with pop’s elite is now commonplace for the London-born producer, though he admits he prefers to work alone. “I’m not really a team player. I work best by myself. But I am going to start to work more with other artists on the new record because I know I need to get out of my comfort zone.”
Going on to talk about his forthcoming music, Dyment has spent the last week working with a number of producers in Sydney – whether local or in town as part of the festival lineup. When we ask who he’s booked studio time with, Dyment is tight-lipped. “I can’t say until the song is done, but yes, it will be a full track.”
As for Australian music, Duke Dumont is a huge fan of Sydney producer Flume* (who is also on ground to catch performances at Listen Out). “My favourite Australian producer over the last couple of years has been Flume. His sound transcends countries and crosses international boundaries. He’s one of my favourite artists coming out of Australia at the moment.”
But for all his star-power, the 31-year-old ‘Need U (100%)’ producer hasn’t let success get to his head. “In all honesty, I am my harshest critic. There have been records that have been very successful that I actually didn’t want to release because I’m too much of a perfectionist. There are hundreds of songs ready to go on my hard drive.
“I won’t be ready to release them until I know they're as good as they’re going to get. And then I will release them to the world,” he says. “But you can never make everybody happy. As long as you’re happy with your music, and it’s coming from the right place, then that’s all that matters.”
Dyment is a true performer – bounding around behind the tables during his shows, dancing and egging on the crowd to do the same. But, knowingly or otherwise, his real strength lies in his modesty off the stage.
“Who do you think is the better artist? The guy who makes the most forward-thinking, emotional-based music that pulls on your heart strings and makes one or two thousand people happy or the guy who is making the most generic dance music and makes ten million people happy?
“My answer is neither. You are who you are. I used to hate on the artists whose music wasn’t as exciting, but at the end of the day, they are making a lot of people happy. Everyone just needs to stop hating. I used to be a really big hater but now I’m not one at all. When I take myself and my own ego out of the equation that’s the answer I come up with. If you can make people happy then you should do it.”
*No prizes for guessing who he plans to work with.